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Vacation, Daydreaming, and Naps Aren't a Luxury. They're Essential.

August 10, 2014, 1:42 PM

What's the Latest?

Researchers at McGill and Stanford Universities have recently discovered the location of a switch in the brain that regulates two essential neural networks: one network manages active thinking and another manages daydreaming, relaxing, and the like. The two work in tandem to help us achieve insight about the world around us; all our greatest achievements depend on their symbiotic relationship. The enemy of a balanced brain is multitasking, particularly when we ask it to switch between states of problem solving and relaxation too quickly, e.g. checking social media at frequent intervals throughout the working day. 

What's the Big Idea?

To get the most out of your brain, you should honor both its active and passive networks, giving each its due time during your day. Neuroscientists recommend partitioning your day into specific categories so you're not shortchanging yourself by doing too many things at once:

Every status update you read on Facebook, every tweet or text message you get from a friend, is competing for resources in your brain with important things like whether to put your savings in stocks or bonds, where you left your passport or how best to reconcile with a close friend you just had an argument with.

Research has uncovered that creative answers are best found in 30-50 minutes of concentration. Conversely, 30-50 minutes of relaxation can provide that unexpected piece of insight. Even a nap of 10 minutes helps improve cognitive function. So if you want to achieve more, it's important to be happy and well-rested while you go about it. 

Read more at the New York Times

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Vacation, Daydreaming, and ...

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